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Championship successes on Dartmoor

Richard receiving M50 Middle DIstance trophy

Richard receiving M50 Middle DIstance trophy

Published: Sat 24 Sep 2022

18 QOs headed to Hound Tor to participate in the Southern and South West Long and Middle Distance championships.

After the storm hit British Championships in 2021 at Broughton Burrows, organiser Phil Beale deserved a break and, despite worrying long-range weather forecasts, it was glorious sunshine on Dartmoor for The Caddihoe.

Parking and assembly for both days was a grassy field with spectacular views across Dartmoor towards Haytor and the terrain many competitors would be running on for the first day. For most seniors, it was a long walk down the hill to a tranquil spot on Becka Brook for the start and the climb up to explore Haytor.

Richard, who finished in 3rd in M50:

My course had a nearly 2km long leg to the first control. I got there in 12 minutes but then spent 9 minutes searching for a shallow ditch in tall bracken! This was a theme for the first few controls, although I managed to find no 3 straight away. Things got a bit better after that as the controls were on more visible features, even though the bracken was still high, and I finished in a decent time

View from assembly towards Haytor

View from assembly towards Haytor
Credit: Phil Sorrell

Phil M45, once again tussled with Pete out on the course:

Pete, who started behind, caught me on the long leg to 1. We kept trading places for the next few controls, but I got the slip at 8 and had a bit of lead after 9. Despite a bad route to 12, we were neck and neck until our paths crossed again as I was heading to my penultimate control where I lost concentration in the maze of paths. Pete kept his cool for a well-deserved 6th, with me just behind in 7th.

There were some good results from the QO challenges. Congratulations to Bill, crowned Southern & SWOA M85 Champion, Richard (SWOA M50 Champion) and Roger Craddock (SWOA M80 Champion).

NameCategoryAwardSouthern ChampsSWOA Champs
Hamish Braine-ClarkM16MPMP
Robin Fieldhouse
Luke Fieldhouse
Pete Shirvington
Phil Sorrell
Richard Sansbury
Jeff Pakes
Matthew Knipe
Brian Pearson
Simon St Leger-HarrisM65Silver14th7th
Tony Hext
John TraylerM752nd2nd
Roger Craddock
Bill VigarM85Silver1st1st
Vicky FieldhouseW55Bronze11th4th
Shelia Braine
Adele Appleby

Many of the competitors stayed overnight - some more comfortably than others!

As well as the orienteering Pete & I (RIchard) enjoyed a brief river swim (very cold!) and wild camping under the stars.

On the second day, it was the SWOA Middle Distance Championships (controlled by our own Rosie and Andy), giving competitors a chance to explore Hound Tor and surrounding terrain (and bracken).

Shelia, Pete, Jeff and Phil at the end of Day 2

Shelia, Pete, Jeff and Phil at the end of Day 2
Credit: Roger Craddock

Several of the QO squad struggled with an early control on an old wall in the bracken. Here is Phil again,

Whilst, with hindsight, the direct route through the head height bracken to 3 was not ideal, I did at least pop out in exactly the right place... except it took me 5 minutes of running up and down the path to realise it. Dishearted compounded with tired legs meant, whilst I enjoyed the course, I was out of contention.

Congratulations especially to Sebastian (3rd M10 SWOA), Hamish (3rd M16 SWOA), Pete (3rd M45 SWOA), Richard (1st M50 SWOA), Jeff (2nd M50 SWOA), Brian (3rd M60 SWOA) and Shelia (3rd W55 SWOA).

Also kudos to Pete, Richard, Brian and Shelia for all getting Championship times.

Here is our trophy winner Richard:

Sunday went much better for me. I’m not sure why, maybe the features were more definite, maybe it being due to less bracken, but it just came together for me with fewer mistakes. I was being more careful to pace-count and tick off features on the route. A good middle distance course in a much smaller area.

Thank you to Devon OC and all the volunteers, without whom these events cannot take place.

Day 1 Results & RouteGadget | Day 2 Results & RouteGadget | Discuss your route